The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Washington Huskies.
No. 9: Washington Huskies
Spring Practice Starts: March 28
Spring Game: April 21
Washington Huskies Spring Status
The Huskies might not have been back to the Pac-12 Championship, but they made it to a second major bowl game in a row – even if they lost both – and they put together another ten-win season.
However, the best win was against Washington State. The second-best came against Oregon, or maybe Fresno State – that’s not good enough.
This year, the talent is in place to put up a gaudy win total and – for the first time over the last two seasons – really and truly be good enough to beat the stronger teams on the slate.
Start with the backfield, getting back QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin to work behind a good-looking line with three starters back. Losing WR Dante Pettis is a problem, but there’s still speed, and there’s still talent in the receiving corps.
Head coach Chris Petersen is used to replacing the parts now on defense. This time around, he has to find a new main man up front for Vita Mea, and needs to replace linebackers Azeem Victor and Keishan Bierra. However, the secondary – the concern going into last season – is terrific, and the line should be fine.
It’s possible to make it two College Football Playoff runs in the last three seasons. It’s expected to win another Pac-12 title.
Washington Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Linebacker. Keishawn Bierria is done after finishing second on the team with 60 stops, and Azeem Victor is gone after a great career, but with four missed games last season. Ben Burr-Kirven led the team in tackles and will be back on the inside, and Tevis Bartlett returns on the outside – they’ll be statistical stars. However, in the 3-4, the Huskies need more options with the talent of Bierria and Victor.
Washington Biggest Issue
Convert on every opportunity. The red zone offense wasn’t a disaster, but it was among the worst in the Pac-12, and it turned out to be the difference between playing for the conference title and missing out on the fun.
The Huskies scored on a mere 83% of the time inside the 20 – they were around 95% in 2016 – converting just one of three times in the 13-7 loss to Arizona State and failing once in the loss to Stanford.
The kickers only hit 13-of-22 field goals a year after Cameron Van Winkle mauled 80% of his tries. If the O as a whole gets back up over 90% again, that’ll mean at least one more win.
Washington Biggest Positive
The offensive backfield. With Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Luke Falk gone, Jake Browning joins Khalil Tate and Justin Herbert as the Pac-12’s quarterbacking stars, but he’s more accomplished. The senior didn’t put up the same season in 2017 as he did in 2016, but he was still efficient and terrific.
Also back is Myles Gaskin, coming off a 1,380-yard, 21 touchdown season as part of a backfield with three of the top four rushers back. Browning’s passing should carry the offense in the clutch, but it’ll be balanced.
Really, Why Are The Washington Huskies Ranked Here?
The Huskies are about to come up with a whole lot of wins again. They should be working on a third straight trip to the Pac-12 title, but this year, they’re the class of the North and the strongest team in the conference from top to bottom. Petersen has created something special.